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ALEXANDEB  VOK  HTJMBOLDT.                   6&
the poison in a stocking as he was putting it on.
which, as his toes were sorely bitten by insects,, would
infallibly have killed him.
When Bonpland had prepared some arrows with
this poison for the purpose of shooting birds, and had
been with Humbolclt witness of the very remarkable
Curare feast, which is accompanied by dancing and
drunkenness, the two naturalists continued their
tourney. Humboldt had proved the connexion of the
Orinocco with the Amazon, and, with this scientific
trophy, gained partly by his journey to the cataracts,
partly by inquiries made of the soldiers of San Carlos
who had made an expedition in search of the sources
of the Orinocco, he bid adieu to a district which had
been unknown before his time, and which had only
been a land of fables for former writers of travels.
The discovery*of the sources of this great river was left
to a future natiiralist, the traveller Schomburgk, who
visited these districts in the interest of the Geogra-
phical Society of London.
From the missionary establishment of Esmeralda,
Hximbolclt and Bonpland travelled further on the
23rd May, 1800, sailing down the Orinocco, and, with-
out being properly ill, they were nevertheless, in con-
sequence of the hardships they had gone through, of
bad food and insect torments, in a thoroughly exhausted
and weak condition. They found little to cheer them
along the river, as they met no living beings, only in-
terminable plains, and sometimes high motmtains;
they experienced a feeling of abandonment the more
deeply as inscriptions on the rocks axxd rude sculptures
in granite showed traces of a former existence of
civilized beings, and were evident monuments of the
decayed civilization of a nation, formerly existing
here, bxit now annihilated. Although exhausted and
depressed, they neglected not a single interesting natu-
ral specimen, and thus they reached the passage over
the great waterfalls of Maypura, which occupied them
two clays. On the 31st May, they landed on the eastern
shore of the stream near Puerto de la Expedickm., to